Gambia Readmitted to Commonwealth After Four-Year AbsenceBy
Gambia was readmitted to the Commonwealth of Nations on Thursday, signaling the country’s pledge to mend international ties after becoming increasingly isolated under former ruler Yahya Jammeh.
The West African nation was unanimously supported to become the 53th member of the group of mostly former territories of the British Empire, the Commonwealth said in an emailed statement. Jammeh withdrew Gambia from the group in 2013, describing it as a neo-colonial institution. It had been a member since gaining independence from Britain in 1965.
Membership will help Gambia “to address a wide range of pressing issues, including protecting the environment and tackling climate change, and the empowerment of women and young people,” Francis Blain, the country’s appointed Commonwealth commissioner, said in the statement.
The government of President Adama Barrow is seeking to restore relations with neighboring states and boost stagnant growth. Barrow assumed office last year after West African leaders threatened military intervention to oust Jammeh, who was clinging to power despite losing elections late 2016.